Disney took the wraps off its highly-anticipated streaming video service on Thursday, and investors were giving it rave reviews.
At an investor event on Thursday after the close, Disney (DIS) - Get Report CEO Bob Iger and a host of executives provided plenty of details about Disney+, the latest entrant into the crowded direct-to-consumer streaming space. Shares of Disney were opened up more than 10% to $128.49 to a new record high on Friday morning.
Rounding out Disney's existing portfolio of direct-to-consumer services -- which includes ESPN+ and Hulu, as well as Hotstar in India -- Disney+ is a "family-friendly" offering that brings together content from various Disney-owned brands, including National Geographic, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, the Disney Channel, as well as The Simpsons and other select programming from Fox.
Disney+ will launch on Nov. 12, 2019 and is priced at $6.99 per month, or $69.99 annually. Kevin Mayer, head of Disney's direct-to-consumer and international segments, said that Disney "might" offer bundling with ESPN+ and Hulu at a discounted rate.
In a lengthy showcase that brought out leaders from Marvel, Pixar and Disney's other popular brands, Disney brass said that Disney+ is designed to appeal to global audiences.
Disney+ programming, in its first year, will include more than 35 original series, movies or specials, more than 100 recently released movies and more than 400 library titles. It will also include about 7,500 episodes of past series. By its fifth year, that will increase to more than 10,000 episodes, more than 60 originals, and more than 500 library titles.
At launch, Disney+ subscribers can watch 9 originals, which include a live-action Lady and the Tramp, The Mandalorian, a space opera based on Star Wars, High School Musical The Musical, The Series, and others. Library content will include the entire Pixar library, animated Disney classics, live action films, content from the Marvel universe, National Geographic, Disney Channel and Star Wars, and select programming from Fox. More content will be added on a continuous basis, Disney said.
Disney executives emphasized the unique appeal of Disney brands across the globe, and accordingly, disclosed the international expansion plan for Disney+ and other streaming properties.
Disney+ will launch first in North America this fall, followed by a rollout in Europe in fall 2019 through winter 2020. It will also roll out in Asia-Pacific in fall 2019 through fall 2020, and lastly in Latin America in fall 2020.
In a note this week, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne forecasted that by 2022, Disney will have 70 million direct-to-consumer subscribers between ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+.
Disney reported in February that ESPN+ had more than 2 million subscribers, while Hulu has about 25 million subscribers.
Disney+ enters an increasingly crowded field for direct-to-consumer streaming. Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report TV+ product is set to launch later this year, though it hasn't revealed pricing. AT&T's (T) - Get Report WarnerMedia also plans to launch a streaming service in 2019. Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report remains the dominant player, while Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report has also bulked up original programming to compliment offerings on its Prime service.